Did Your Ancestor Look Like This?

blue-eyed-spaniard-01_75845_990x742-477x650

Blue eyes and dark skin. This is what one of your ancestors may have looked like before the adoption of agriculture, 7,000 years ago, based on a new DNA analysis of a well-preserved skeleton. Here’s some more information about him:

He was probably lactose intolerant and had more difficulty digesting starchy foods than the farmers who transformed diets and lifestyles when they took up tools in the first agricultural revolution.

Washington Post: DNA shows ancient hunter had blue eyes, dark skin

For fans of the “Paleo Diet” and other get-back-to-nature notions, the study brings some good news, suggesting that people carry around plenty of genes left over from their primeval forebears.

National Geographic: Blue-Eyed Hunter-Gatherers Roamed Prehistoric Europe, Gene Map Reveals

The news articles are based on this DNA analysis of skeletal remains from a Spanish hunter-gatherer.

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21 comments

Top comment

  1. Murray
    I've been under 50 grams of carbs per day for six years. How is it harmful? My Hb1Ac is down to 4.7. I work in a brain intensive job (no brain fog) and spend spare time researching. I run every morning (lots of energy). Every visible indication of health has improved. I went from touching toes to palms on floor then head between legs. I can easily do two hour cycling rides in hills in summer without water or snack (better endurance). I have defined abs without working out. I have defined quads that are larger from running up stairs and cycling, such that most pants my waist size are too tight for my thighs (no loss of muscle). I was going grey in my late forties which reversed and in my mid-fifties people who have not seen me in a while say I look younger than when they last saw me. Tinnitus disappeared. Teeth have improved, including reversal of cracking. I don't need as much sleep. Improved skin suppleness and elasticity, including disappearance of wrinkles. No colds or flus for six years.

    Each one of these changes has metabolically plausible explanations based on the metabolics of ketosis. I am not the only one to report these changes. My relations and friends who have gone keto report many of the same, especially skin health. So we all establish an existence proof that at least some people do not need more than 10% of calories from carbs. (I do have avocado, nuts, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, etc., which have some carbs, so it is not zero, but it is under 10% of calories). The real issue is why do many people lack the metabolic flexibility to adapt well to a different principal source of energy.

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  1. heisenberg
    haha this guy looks a bit like me, hes gorgeous!

    so lucky i got some of that ancient genes (but unfortunelly not the blue eyes -.-)

  2. charles grashow
    "This is what one of your ancestors may have looked like before the adoption of agriculture, 7,000 years ago."

    Agriculture started appx 10,000 years ago SO this is what your ancestors may have looked like AFTER the adoption of agriculture.

  3. Damocles
    In contrast to general believe, agriculture did not get started at every registered point in the world at January 1st 7000BC
    by the declaration of the bureau of growing crops...

    Wikipedia : "Agriculture advanced to Europe slightly later, reaching the northeast of the continent from the east around 4000 BC"

    There are even some remote regions which still don't have agriculture...

  4. Galina L.
    Adaptation to agriculture started 10 000 years ago. It took time. According to wiki "Hystory of Agriculture" "By 7000 BCE, sowing and harvesting reached Mesopotamia, and there, in the fertile soil just north of the Persian Gulf, Sumerians systematized it and scaled it up. By 8000 BCE farming was entrenched on the banks of the Nile River."
    In Europe it came much later "Archaeological evidence from various sites on the Iberian peninsula suggest the domestication of plants and animals between 6000 and 4500 BCE.[21] Céide Fields in Ireland, consisting of extensive tracts of land enclosed by stone walls, date to 3500 BCE and are the oldest known field systems in the world.[22][23] The horse was domesticated in Ukraine around 4000 BCE.[24]"
  5. murray
    Agriculture was not uniformly adopted by everyone at the same time. In Europe there was ongoing conflict between agrarians and hunter-gathers for a long time. The study identified these remains as those of a hunter-gatherer.
  6. murray
    It is interesting to speculate that the longstanding battles in Europe between increasingly fair-skinned, vitamin D-challenged agrarians and darker-skinned hunter-gatherers, would likely have bred into the collective unconscious of the agrarians (who eventually prevailed due to the advantages of fortified settlements) an antipathy toward darker-skinned peoples and an association with them as uncivilized and barbaric. Ironically, it seems genes evolved faster than social attitudes, with Europeans (in general) becoming lactose tolerant before becoming racially tolerant.
  7. Zepp
    Noe.. not my ancestor.. Im pale, frekled, red top and brown/green eyed!

    Pale as an Englishman.. probably some Keltic gen that is dominante in me?

  8. Solomon
    This study colaborate similar ones from Northern Europe through Eastern Europe. The scientist are surprised that Europe was this homogenous.
  9. laza
    Hey has anyone seen this article:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2546975/One-twin-gave-sugar...

    It may be worth of commenting on. The low-carb brother seems to have been on some strange, unhealthy low-carb regime.

    Reply: #11
  10. Craig
    I think that going too low carb (under 100gs a day) is harmful unless you are diabetic. I think we need the veg in abundance and when coupled with meat and fat, it is a winning combination for good health and weight management.

    We are all different and one size does not fit all.

    Reply: #12
  11. Murray
    The article was unclear to me, but it seems he was on low carb for only a month. It is very common for people to take several weeks to keto-adapt and suffer the brain fog symptoms he describes. Gut flora probably takes more than a month to adapt. It seems his metabolism had difficulty keto-adapting if he was burning body protein for fuel instead of fat while eating plenty of protein, as controlled studies show low carb diets better at lean mass retention and building than low-fat diets. As to sustainability, I've been low carb keto for over six years. The diet is very palatable, especially once the sense of taste recalibrates so that vegetables taste sweet. His diet had zero vegetables it seems, whereas I eat lots of low carb vegetables and fermented vegetables (like sauerkraut).

    Notice how quick he is at the end to generalize his own negative experiences to what other people must experience. Plainly many people thrive on low carb and many people have difficulty achieving metabolic flexibility to derive most energy from fat.

  12. Murray
    I've been under 50 grams of carbs per day for six years. How is it harmful? My Hb1Ac is down to 4.7. I work in a brain intensive job (no brain fog) and spend spare time researching. I run every morning (lots of energy). Every visible indication of health has improved. I went from touching toes to palms on floor then head between legs. I can easily do two hour cycling rides in hills in summer without water or snack (better endurance). I have defined abs without working out. I have defined quads that are larger from running up stairs and cycling, such that most pants my waist size are too tight for my thighs (no loss of muscle). I was going grey in my late forties which reversed and in my mid-fifties people who have not seen me in a while say I look younger than when they last saw me. Tinnitus disappeared. Teeth have improved, including reversal of cracking. I don't need as much sleep. Improved skin suppleness and elasticity, including disappearance of wrinkles. No colds or flus for six years.

    Each one of these changes has metabolically plausible explanations based on the metabolics of ketosis. I am not the only one to report these changes. My relations and friends who have gone keto report many of the same, especially skin health. So we all establish an existence proof that at least some people do not need more than 10% of calories from carbs. (I do have avocado, nuts, leafy greens, Brussels sprouts, etc., which have some carbs, so it is not zero, but it is under 10% of calories). The real issue is why do many people lack the metabolic flexibility to adapt well to a different principal source of energy.

  13. Craig
    I thought I did say one size does not fit all? This is great for you, but it would not work for me or many of my clients. I have great health markers too and in my clinic recommend a starting point of 50gs of carbs and this is an amazing starting point for people to find out what their food triggers are for over-eating. Mine are oats, rice and processed food.

    I Have stuck to under 20gs of carbs for over a year and never felt well and certainly not to the extent you are describing. Once I increased my carbs, all veg and a little fruit, I started to feel everything you have described. What should I do? Stick to feeling like garbage? Or should I try and be my own person and devise a way of eating that gives me everything you have?

    I love that you defend your way of eating, but one size does not fit all; period.

    Reply: #15
  14. Murray
    This video from the most recent ancestral health forum, Safe Starches: Are they essential to an Ancestral Diet?, is instructive.

    http://youtu.be/Xt-Z2NFRrq0

    The panel was divided. Dr. Presser's clinical experience is that many patients, not all, have drastically lower thyroid activity and related symptoms from very low carb. Dr. Shanahan says none of her patients have had this, but she has her patients lower carbs more gradually and not abruptly, so they do not get "low carb flu". She says going keto all the time long term is as yet untested and therefore, based on traditional diet experience, thinks increasing insulin and storing some fat from carbs once in a while is prudent. Dr. Rosedale thinks reduced thyroid activity is a good thing and it is easy to mistake for hypothyroidism. Low carb low T3 is okay in his clinical experience, as TSH levels remain steady even when T3 goes down. He said it is like a better tuned engine being able to get the same performance at lower rpm, and he notes ketosis has an anti-aging effect the same as caloric restriction in animals, but without restricting calories. (Consistent with my experience.)

    So an abrupt total deprivation of carbs may block many people's ability to adapt. Perhaps one has to go back to sugar-based metabolism and start again, reducing carbs gradually before the epigenetics of the ketogenic phenotype can adapt appropriately.

  15. Murray
    We agree that not everyone thrives on the same diet. My point is that going under 100 grams carbs (400 calories per day) is not harmful for everyone. I am not claiming everyone should or can.
  16. Jan C
    I watched the programme last night.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b03t8r4h/Horizon_20132014_Sugar_...

    Regarding the blood sugar increase in the brother eating a high-fat diet (which was also high in protein, it seemed), after a month his blood sugar rose from 5.1 to 5.9, '0.2 away from being prediabetic'. The doctor/scientist taking the test said: ‘If you eat too much fat that can stop your body responding to insulin and can make your body produce more glucose.’ That's the first I've ever heard of this. It seems very odd, because many people seem to control their blood glucose having a high-fat diet.

  17. Raj
    Yes I saw that too. Very worrying as the doctor advised him to stop the diet immediately as his body was losing its ability to create insulin which would lead to him becoming diabetic! He basically said that because he eats no carbs his pancreas will eventually shut down due to low usage. This is scary! Please tell me its rubbish!
    Reply: #18
  18. Michelle
    Raj. The man who ate a low carb diet did not eat any carbs in the form of veg at all. Thus, I feel that this experiment was a flawed one to represent low carb eating, as low carb does not mean no carb.

    I eat around 50 or so gs of carbs a day for around a year now and I have great resting insulin levels. I also have lost over 80lbs and feel so very much better.

    I think we need to look at ourselves and ensure we eat enough veg to keep our pancreas's working (whatever that means, but I'm sure we'll find out).

    Our knowledge of what to eat for the best health is clearly still in it's infancy, so who knows is really the answer to your question. Just ask yourself how you feel and get your bloods checked if you can.

    Take care

  19. Raj
    Yep I think the programme was heavily flawed and biased towards eating carbs (maybe even funded by the carb companies). First of all, no mention of KetoGenesis at all just some rubbish about how our brains prefer sugar as fuel instead of Keytones. They didn't even state that keytones are only produced when fat is broken down. secondly, I think the reason why the first chap produced so much more insulin is that after a month of eating nothing but sugar his body was in an insulin creating mode. Also, the millions of new diabetics over the last 40 years have become diabetic not by limiting carbs but by eating too many of them! The programme actually tried to suggest that eating loads of sugary foods was good for you and you could lose weight, in other words, keep doing what you were doing for years. Humans years ago did not eat the carbs that they eat today and they were not all in danger of destroying their pancreases.
  20. Chupo
    Light skin wasn't necessary at high latitudes until the advent of agriculture, which would have decreased dietary vitamin D.

    http://archaeonova.blogspot.com/2013/05/myths-of-paleo-part-two-pale-...

  21. Cameron Hidalgo
    This guy looks exactly like me.

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